Q&A with John Gray, whose newest book "Work With Me" tackles gender relations in the workplace.
2. Do men appreciate women?
Men feel appreciated when you acknowledge the result of what they've done. Women feel appreciated when you acknowledge the result of what they've done, plus you have an understanding of the journey that they went through to achieve that goal. Practically speaking, in the workplace or at home, that means for men to shift their approach to ask more questions about the journey rather than just acknowledging the outcome.
3. Are women being excluded?
Men don't realize in many ways that they unknowingly exclude women. Growing an awareness of where this happens and how it occurs can produce a sense of inclusion which will help women feel more appreciated and valued and lower women's stress. A simple example of that in the workplace, as well as at home, is when a man is discussing something, and he notices he's talking more than the woman. He should always pause and ask, "What do you think?" "What are you feeling?"
4. Do men have to walk on eggshells around women?
Because women have different sensitivities that men don't understand, men will often be hesitant to give feedback, because she might have an emotional response, and this is unfair to her. But she wants to know the truth. Often men don't tell their wives things because again, she might get upset about it, and he doesn't know how to deal with her being upset about it. The reason he doesn't know how to deal with her being upset about it is that nobody's ever taught him the difference between men and women. If he understands that difference, it just means asking a few questions, and the emotional upset goes away.
5. Do women ask too many questions?
Women don't realize how annoying they can be to men by asking so many questions. To her, it's a way of building rapport, connecting, drawing out more information for a better solution, creating cooperation, and creating participation—which are all valuable things. But men don't necessarily value those things. Men say, "Let's get this done," and when a woman starts asking questions, he feels as though she is slowing him down.
At home, women can also understand that asking too many questions can be very bothersome to a man—but there are ways to ask questions that aren't. For example, instead of "What were you thinking?" or "Why did you do that?" it could be something along the lines of "Help me understand your thinking on this." And then when he does answer, make sure to say something like, "Well that makes sense," or "Help me understand why this would be the case."
6. Do men listen?
Women often feel that men are not listening, and it's a blind spot, because men think they do. But men have to realize that there's so much more women have to say if you ask more questions. They're waiting for men to ask. Often he hears the first thing out of her mouth, and he thinks he got her point—because often men will make their point first, while women build up to a point, and then have another point and another to conclude. And men don't realize there's a lot more in there, so they tend to interrupt women a lot. Keep reading...